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Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement…
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Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America

by Kathleen Belew

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521341,463 (3.7)None
The white power movement in America wants a revolution. It has declared all-out war against the federal government and its agents, and has carried out--with military precision--an escalating campaign of terror against the American public. Its soldiers are not lone wolves but are highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview of white supremacy, anticommunism, and apocalypse. In Bring the War Home, Kathleen Belew gives us the first full history of the movement that consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s around a potent sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War and made tragic headlines in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City. Returning to an America ripped apart by a war which, in their view, they were not allowed to win, a small but driven group of veterans, active-duty personnel, and civilian supporters concluded that waging war on their own country was justified. They unified people from a variety of militant groups, including Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads, radical tax protestors, and white separatists. The white power movement operated with discipline and clarity, undertaking assassinations, mercenary soldiering, armed robbery, counterfeiting, and weapons trafficking. Its command structure gave women a prominent place in brokering intergroup alliances and bearing future recruits. Belew's disturbing history reveals how war cannot be contained in time and space. In its wake, grievances intensify and violence becomes a logical course of action for some. Bring the War Home argues for awareness of the heightened potential for paramilitarism in a present defined by ongoing war.--… (more)

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Terrifying book, well researched but sometimes repetitive and badly written, about white power activism and organizing from post-Vietnam until now. The “leaderless” strategy that spurred acts like the Oklahoma City bombing has paid off in significant part by convincing journalists and most law enforcement officers that people like Dylann Roof and Timothy McVeigh were “lone wolves” rather than embedded in a larger network that trained and encouraged them. Belew’s thesis that the Vietnam War fundamentally reshaped the white power movement would have been strengthened by more contrast with the pre-Vietnam configurations, and it’s not clear that “Vietnam” structures the current movement’s understanding of its relationship with America and America’s government as it did twenty years ago. Her argument that post-Vietnam white power movements understood themselves as fundamentally in opposition to the federal government, as opposed to enforcing a racial hierarchy with which the government agreed, also needs some revisiting post-Trump. (I also wonder how much this is really a change—the KKK members and other racists who terrorized people in the first half of the twentieth century, in North and South, probably also thought that their local governments were really on their side, and they were almost certainly right. Hmm, this makes me think about Arendt’s argument about anti-Semitism’s inherent link to opposition to the modern state, and whether it could be extended to African-Americans’ relationship to the federal versus local governments.) ( )
1 vote rivkat | Aug 31, 2018 |
The history of the white-power movement can reframe how we think of activists like this [Dylan Roof]. Thinking of people as people with an ideology, even if it’s something we don’t agree with, changes the way that we think about opposition. It discredits the idea of lone wolf operatives or single incidents with mad gunmen and calls on us to try to understand people’s own stated motivation, and to find the connections when they exist between different actions and between different groups.
added by elenchus | editslate.com, Rebecca Onion (Apr 11, 2018)
 
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The white power movement in America wants a revolution. It has declared all-out war against the federal government and its agents, and has carried out--with military precision--an escalating campaign of terror against the American public. Its soldiers are not lone wolves but are highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview of white supremacy, anticommunism, and apocalypse. In Bring the War Home, Kathleen Belew gives us the first full history of the movement that consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s around a potent sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War and made tragic headlines in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City. Returning to an America ripped apart by a war which, in their view, they were not allowed to win, a small but driven group of veterans, active-duty personnel, and civilian supporters concluded that waging war on their own country was justified. They unified people from a variety of militant groups, including Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads, radical tax protestors, and white separatists. The white power movement operated with discipline and clarity, undertaking assassinations, mercenary soldiering, armed robbery, counterfeiting, and weapons trafficking. Its command structure gave women a prominent place in brokering intergroup alliances and bearing future recruits. Belew's disturbing history reveals how war cannot be contained in time and space. In its wake, grievances intensify and violence becomes a logical course of action for some. Bring the War Home argues for awareness of the heightened potential for paramilitarism in a present defined by ongoing war.--… (more)

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